STAGS PAY THE PRICE FOR FAILURE TO KILL OFF BRILLIANT BUSH
AFC Totton 2 Bush Hill 2
(Bush Hill win 6-5 on penalties)
Since 2013, AFC Totton have become specialists in losing cup ties to sides from lower Divisions. Admittedly, on occasions we have won against lower league sides too, but we have been the victims of cup upsets on far too many occasions. Some of you may recall being knocked out of Various cups by clubs, such as AFC Stoneham (twice),AFC Portchester, Sholing (twice), Gillingham Town, Hamble Club, Hartley Wintney, Romsey Town, Hamworthy Utd, Lymington Town and last night in the Semi Final of the Southampton Divisional Senior FA Cup it happened again, this time to Bush Hill from the Hampshire League.
Last nights game against Bush Hill started as you would’ve wanted it to, the Stags were 2-0 up inside 12 minutes thanks to goals from Callum Chugg who score from close range following a corner on the left, then from Craig Feeney, who blasted home from inside the box with an emphatic finish. The Stags could’ve been further ahead early doors, with Feeney skewing a shot wide and Chugg having a goal chalked off. So all was going according to plan…………………….or so we thought!!!
Totton looked the better side in the 1st half without being anything special, and they should have been when you consider the Divisional difference! However, the Stags failed to put Bush Hill to the sword and they were made to pay!!!
Bush Hill even lost Charlie Willett to a nasty looking arm injury midway through the 1st half, forcing them to make a substitution after a lengthy stoppage. Willett was replaced by Martin Randall.
Totton did hit the bar thanks to a Jack Masterton free kick BUT other than that, after the opening 12 minutes and the injury stoppage, there was very little to report in the remainder of the 1st half in terms of chances. The Stags had to defend a few corners and a free kick, but there didn’t seem to be any danger from a defensive point of view. It has to be said that it was highly disappointing that we did not create anything in an increasingly scrappy 1st 45 minutes.
Half Time: AFC Totton 2 Bush Hill 0
Totton started the 2nd half ok with Adam McWilliam firing wide, Robin Nicholls firing wide and Feeney shooting into the side netting. There was another shot wide from James Matthews and Totton were still looking comfortable despite being NOWHERE near their best.
Bush Hill seemed to be gathering some belief due to the Stags inability to create anything to kill off the tie, and sure enough they pulled a goal back thanks to Callum Drake who met a right wing cross at the back post with a superb finish.
Bush Hill lost Sean Haynes for 10 minutes after he was sin binned, but this did not deter them because before Haynes could return to play they were level, and again it was that man Drake who punished the Stags.
You really had to pinch yourself because the Stags had well and truly ‘lost the plot’ and Bush Hill sensed they could win the tie and they nearly did, but Aman was on hand to make a crucial save in the dying moments.
Full time: AFC Totton 2 Bush Hill 2
The game went to penalties and the 1st eight kicks were all scored. Jack Smith then had the Stags 5th penalty saved by Bush Hill keeper Stephen Hodder, but Bush also had their 5th penalty saved by Aman. Connor York then had Totton’s 6th penalty saved and Bush Hill made no mistake by burying their 6th kick.
Congratulations to Bush Hill. They never threw in the towel at 2-0 down and they kept trying to play football from the back. They played with great heart and determination and they FULLY DESERVED to win the tie and to reach a St Mary’s final.